5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Keep Your Day Job As a General, Leave Book Writing to Others,
This review is from: It Doesn't Take a Hero : The Autobiography of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf (Paperback)
It's hard to take issue with a general who wins wars, but I can fault his book. General Schwarzkopf kept a large coalition of nations together, managed an enormous logistics operation, and won the First Gulf War under the guide lines set by President George H.W. Bush.
I fault the book because it follows a pattern where Schwarzkopf takes command of a unit from an unnamed commander. The unit is disorganized, ill trained, and lacks leadership. When Schwarzkopf ends his tour the unit is the best in the army. This pattern is repeated at company, battalion, brigade, and division level. Most great commanders make mistakes, learn, and improve. I can't believe Schwarzkopf's career was so error free.
In Granada, Schwarzkopf was told by an unknown, faceless voice from Washington to conduct an air assault in which numerous US soldiers lost their lives. Of course, Schwarzkopf was against the attack from the beginning. Once again, the general was free from error.
The book had great stories, was well written, and enjoyable to read. I just wish General Schwarzkopf had been more detailed about his career including mistakes made and lessons learned. I wanted a book that would teach me something about military affairs and command, not a Hollywood version of his life. Maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps he and Douglas MacArthur (joke inserted) were our only error free, perfect generals.
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Initial post: Jan 26, 2013 1:45:31 PM PST
"Keep Your Day Job As a General, Leave Book Writing to Others" is the title of your review. If you had actually read the book (as it has been off store shelves since the early 90s and would require online purchase by which Amazon would have listed below your title "Amazon Verified Purchase") you would have easily discovered that on the cover page of the book it is co-written with ghost author Peter Petre. What this really means is that ghost writers usually write a majority of the book since the people that the book is about and they're damn good at it since authorship is not every famous person's profession. Also, if you had read the book you would find out that he is the farthest thing from a warmongering hawk, unlike many in Washington. Hawks wanted Iraq completely and fully invaded and taken over and he resisted these urges, promoting the protection of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the libration of Kuwait from it's neighoring Iraqi agressors. He criticized Donald Rumsfled in 2004 on NBC for blaming the Army and the war's apparent lack of progress. "I can't believe Schwarzkopf's career was so error free." It wasn't. If you had read the book he clearly states time and again where he made mistakes or was mad as hell because of stupid orders from higher ups that caused injuries or lives. "In Granada, Schwarzkopf was told by an unknown, faceless voice from Washington to conduct an air assault in which numerous US soldiers lost their lives. Of course, Schwarzkopf was against the attack from the beginning. Once again, the general was free from error." Again, not at all. He was not in the position to disobey direct orders, so he conducted them the best way he thought possible. No claims of perfection or lack of error are ever made or implied in the book, which is why you should read it.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2013 4:25:43 PM PDT
J. Green says:
Thanks for the comment Kevin. Oh yes, I did read the book from cover to cover. I guess I was expecting more in depth analysis of leadership and military history from such a great general. May he now rest in peace since the nation lost him a few months ago.
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